TIPS FOR STAYING COOL WHEN YOUR TEEN STARTS ASKING TO DRIVE
MetLife Auto & Home® Offers Tips and Materials to Help Teens Establish Good Driving Habits
Warwick, RI, May 15, 2007
"Can I have the keys to the car?" may be the most frightening words ever heard, at least to a parent with a teenager in the household. And, with good reason: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people 15 to 20 years of age, causing roughly one-third of all fatalities in this age group. Fortunately, parents can make a difference, as studies have shown that learning good driving habits with a seasoned driver, such as a parent or other trusted authority figure, is an effective way to decrease the likelihood of crashes and fatalities during a teen’s first year behind the wheel.
The key to ensuring a successful learning experience involves patience—and preparation. To help prepare for your new role as a driving instructor, keep the following tips in mind:
- Set an example, yourself. Even before your teen "pops the question," it helps to demonstrate good driving practices behind the wheel. Always remember that your teens, and even younger kids, are watching and learning.
- Get the passenger’s view. Before riding with your teen, take a ride with an experienced driver to adjust to the passenger view. You’ll be reminded how roadside mailboxes, curbs, and signs seem to whiz by within inches.
- Keep your lessons short. Be reasonable about what you can accomplish in one lesson. Experts say that the number of times your teen practices with you is more important than the minutes that you log in during any one session. Start with 15 to 20 minutes, and take a break if either of you gets upset.
- Keep a journal of your progress. In some states, graduated driver’s licensing laws require a new driver to submit the time spent behind the wheel with an experienced driver. It can also help you keep track of the lessons you’ve had with your child—what your teen driver has learned, and what additional skills you need to review.
- Stay alert and calm. Without warning, your new driver may need help. It pays to be aware of what’s taking place on the road, and anticipate any hazards that your inexperienced driver may not anticipate. In addition, it’s also important to project an attitude of calm and confidence.
To help make the teen driving experience as painless as possible, MetLife Auto & Home offers free materials: a step-by-step guide called "Teaching Your Teens to Drive (Without Driving Each Other Crazy!)," and a DVD entitled "Young Drivers, the High-Risk Years." Both provide parents and guardians with important guidelines to follow before their teenagers get behind the wheel and emphasize the importance that preparation and planning can play in defusing potentially stressful situations. The materials are available by calling 1-800-MET-LIFE (1-800-638-5433).
In addition, in 33 states, the company offers to teens on MetLife Auto & Home policies cash rewards and savings bonds, for simply developing safe driving techniques. Two components of the company’s "Teens on the Road to Safety" program provide these financial incentives. The first, "Drive Safe and Cash In,"offers teens between the ages of 16-19 a chance to earn $50 each year they drive with no accidents, claims, or violations. It also encourages them to drive safely, buckle up, and never drink and drive. Another component, called "Sunday Drive," offers teens the opportunity to earn a $100 US Savings Bond for logging 20 drives with a parent or guardian in the co-pilot seat.
"MetLife Auto & Home is dedicated to reversing the deadly trend of more than 3,500 teens losing their lives on America’s roadways each year," said company President Bill Moore. "This is our way of supporting parents looking to influence their teens’ driving habits—and to remind teens to drive with utmost caution."
MetLife Auto & Home is one of the nation’s leading personal lines property and casualty insurance companies. MetLife Auto & Home has developed a reputation for innovation in product design, being the first insurer to introduce product enhancements that provide greater value to consumers, including Identity Theft Resolution Service to both its auto and home insurance customers, offered at no additional charge. Identity Theft Resolution Service is not available in all states, such as Massachusetts and North Carolina, where it is available to homeowners customers only. MetLife Auto & Home is a subsidiary of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the U.S. and the Latin America, Europe, and Asia’s Pacific regions. For more information, please visit www.metlife.com.
MetLife Auto & Home is a brand of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its Affiliates, Warwick, RI.